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Our response to the King’s Speech

7th November 2023

Today’s King’s Speech confirmed an intended Bill supporting annual licences for oil and gas extraction in the North Sea, though there was a lack of demonstrable commitment to renewables in the race to net zero.

Commenting on the energy aspects of the King’s Speech, Roger Mortlock, Chief Executive at CPRE, said:

On the Energy Bill:

‘The climate emergency is the biggest threat facing our countryside. We need far greater action to promote rooftop solar across the country.

‘With the right initiatives, we can rapidly meet much our solar energy needs on the roofs of warehouses, car parks and new build homes, allowing us to spare land for nature and farming.

‘In order to protect our countryside for future generations, we must move away from fossil fuels. Making it easier for future governments to extract oil and gas will have no material effect on bills or energy security.’

On energy infrastructure:

‘It’s critically important to retain meaningful community involvement in the building of new electricity infrastructure.

‘We remain concerned that the rolling out of new electricity infrastructure such as battery storage and pylons could put our finest landscapes at risk. We urge the government to rethink these proposals and put communities and landscape considerations at the heart of planning new infrastructure.

‘For many years we’ve called for grid investment which is necessary to support a renewable revolution, but it’s crucial that these upgrades do not harm our precious landscapes. Locally responsive grid infrastructure is vital in getting more rooftop renewables, which is a common-sense yet overlooked step towards achieving net zero.’

North Sea oil rigs
Ben Wicks / Unsplash


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